French President Emmanuel Macron says despite Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), the UK can still change its mind and remain a member of the bloc. After talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris on Tuesday, Macron said the door for Britain to remain a member of the EU would remain open “until the Brexit negotiations come to an end.”
“From a European point of view, as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of events,” Macron said, but warned that “as the negotiations go on, it will be more and more difficult to go backwards.”
Macron also wished the Brexit talks could start as soon as possible. The United Kingdom last year held a referendum in which Britons voted by a 52-48 percent margin to leave the EU, the first member state ever to do so.
The procedure for the separation, laid out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, has not yet started, but May vowed once again in Paris to start the withdrawal talks with Brussels as scheduled next week. “I confirmed to President Macron that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week,” she said.
Article 50 allows for two years of talks to decide an EU member state’s separation terms. Reports, however, said the British delegation in Brussels failed on Monday to reach an agreement with Michael Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, on a start date for talks.
May, who had called for a snap election in the hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into the negotiations, is currently under pressure to resign over her Conservative Party’s failure in that election, which was held last week.